Harlem Scuffle – Rediscovering ‘Across 110th Street’ (US 1972 – 102 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 21, 2015

Made at the beginning of the Blaxploitation era, the tough and very violent crime flick ‘Across 110th Street’ is an exciting New York drama with a gritty realism and an above average cast, all of whom look like they could explode at any time.

When the Mafia and other assorted hoods band together to track down the three low-life’s who killed and then made off with $300,000 of the Mafia’s money, two mis-matched cops are determined to catch the killers before the vengeful mobsters get hold of them.

One of the best things about this explosive drama is the casting of two …

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Floral Foul Play – Rediscovering ‘Moss Rose’ (US 1947 – 81 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 18, 2015

The rather obscure and quietly engaging little thriller ‘Moss Rose’ was another one of those popular and largely studio-bound 1940’s chillers that Twentieth Century Fox was adept at producing. Like much of their other output that included ‘I Wake up Screaming’ (’41) and ‘The Lodger’ (’44), these movies benefited from having brief build-ups and a less than 90 minute running time.

Here the setting is Victorian London, and after witnessing him leaving her friend Daisy’s home shortly before discovering her dead body, chorus girl Belle Adair (Peggy Cummins) blackmails the wealthy gentleman; Michael Drego (Victor Mature) into allowing her into his …

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Orphans & Outlaws – Rediscovering ‘Cattle Annie and Little Britches’ (US 1981 – 97 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 14, 2015

“I wish to withdraw some money from your bank….all of it” – Burt Lancaster as Bill Doolin

A minor entry in the latter-day western genre, the wonderful little sleeper ‘Cattle Annie and Little Britches’ has never really been given its due. A Shame really as it’s an immensely entertaining picture with a big heart, and one that wastes no time in telling its captivating frontier fable.

Young runaways Annie and Jennie (Amanda Plummer and Diane Lane) take little time in teaming up with the weary Doolin-Dalton gang, led by the aging Bill Doolin (Burt Lancaster). Bringing much needed life into their rather …

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Often Creepy & Occasionally Kind – Remembering Roberts Blossom (1924 – 2011)

Remember ‐ May 10, 2015

A fine character actor who I used to see pop up in various pictures in the 1970’s, the tall and lanky Roberts Blossom should be a familiar face to most cult movie fans. Often looking older than his years, he was a skilled poet and award-winning playwright who had playing “creepy” down to a fine art, in fact a world away from his real-life persona.

Born Roberts Scott Blossom in Connecticut on March 25th 1924, Blossom was first seen on screen in 1958 in a couple of ‘Naked City’ episodes. After numerous television and theatre work in the 1960’s, Roberts …

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The Kidnapped – Rediscovering ‘The Squeeze’ (UK 1977 – 104 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 06, 2015

One the most under-rated British movies of the 1970’s, gritty crime flick ‘The Squeeze’ has always been overshadowed by the more well-known titles ‘Get Carter’, ‘Villain’ (both ’71) and ‘The Long Good Friday’ (’79). Sordid and seamy with a terrific cast, it may be my favourite of the whole British gangster genre.

After his ex-wife and her daughter are kidnapped by a mob working for local crime lord Vic (Stephen Boyd), alcoholic ex-cop Jim Naboth (Stacy Keach) is tasked by her new husband (Edward Fox) to help find them. Various hitches and violent confrontations arise as Naboth and his loyal sidekick …

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Variety, Vaudeville & Family Values – Rediscovering ‘The Seven Little Foys’ (US 1955 – 93 mins)

Rediscover ‐ May 04, 2015

A film that used to play regularly on afternoon television, the quaint family-drama ‘The Seven Little Foys’ is an enjoyable sleeper that harks back to the times of variety shows and music halls, and features Bob Hope in one of his best performances as vaudevillian Eddie Foy, Sr.

Narrated by Foy’s second eldest son Charley, the story charts the life of Vaudevillian Eddie Foy, from his marriage to an Italian ballerina, their seven children together, and how after his wife dies he effectively added them to his already successful act.

‘The Seven Little Foys’ had Bob Hope in great form and …

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Pirates, Prisons and Playmates – Rediscovering ‘The Muthers’ (Philippines 1976 – 83 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 30, 2015

A decent low-budget effort from the grimy Seventies, the Filipino frolic ‘The Muthers’ is a fun watch for the exploitation fan. Yes it’s sloppy in places and has some dodgy acting, but the one-time-only casting of its three attractive leading ladies sets this one apart from the countless others.

A gang of modern-day pirates led by the plucky Kelly (Jeannie Bell) and serious-looking Anggie (Rosanne Katon) infiltrate an isolated island slammer in order to rescue Kelly’s kidnapped sister. With both Kelly and Anggie inside the prison, they have to contend with lustful wardens and lecherous guards before learning that her sister …

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Camp, Cults & Dr Cyclops – Albert Dekker (1905–1968)

Rewind ‐ April 27, 2015

A hugely talented character actor from the ‘old school’, genre-crossing Albert Dekker is today mostly remembered more for one of the most bizarre deaths in Hollywood history than for his natural acting chops. Often seen as a doctor or sinister villain, he could be menacing, funny, or on rare occasions, even romantic.

Born in New York on December 20th 1905, Dekker was acting on the stage by 1927 and made his screen debut ten years later in the Olivia de Havilland starrer ‘The Great Garrick’ (’37). After playing King Louis XIII in James Whale’s ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’, he …

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“Rest in Pieces” – Rediscovering ‘Asylum’ (UK 1972 – 88 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 23, 2015

A very entertaining chiller, the excellent horror anthology ‘Asylum’ makes for perfect late-night viewing. With a terrific atmosphere and splendidly acted by a well-known cast, it briskly and seamlessly moves from one chilling tale to the next, before we witness one final (and surprising) twist.

To test the mettle of new arrival Dr. Martin (Robert Powell) at Dunsmoor mental asylum, the young medic is set the challenge of determining which patient is the psychiatrist Dr. Starr, who has recently become a patient himself after attacking a fellow doctor. As Dr. Martin interviews four inmates, we flash back to witness the chilling …

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Changing Rooms – Rediscovering ‘So Long at the Fair’ (UK 1950 – 86 mins)

Rediscover ‐ April 16, 2015

An excellent thriller with a central plot that grabs and holds you throughout, ‘So Long at the Fair’ is to me the perfect mystery, and one that more than holds its own against greater known pictures such as ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (’38) and ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’ (’65).

Young Vicky Barton (Jean Simmons) and her brother Johnny (David Tomlinson) travel to Paris to see the 1889 World’s Fair. After checking into a hotel and visiting the Moulin Rouge, Vicky goes back to her room leaving Johnny to enjoy a late-night drink. The following morning Vicky goes to Johnny’s room but instead …

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